Five KU Quick Hits

The Kansas Jayhawks were up bright and early this morning in Dallas, for their turn in the rotation at Big 12 Media Day.'s Kevin Flaherty was on hand to take in the action.

* Jimmy and the Joes, rather than the Xs and the Os

Much of Kansas Coach Turner Gill's press conference focused on developing relationships, a staple of the still-young Gill era. Even when Gill did talk specifically about football, it typically came in passing, at the end of a statement about character.

Gill answered questions about specific players with a focus on leadership, and he was asked, at length, about a survey he gave the players when he first arrived. On the survey, Gill asked his players a series of questions to get to know them better, including a question about the most influential person in each player and coach's life.

"We wanted them to see how alike they are," Gill said.

Gill insisted that the two -- character and winning football games -- were related. More importantly than talent, it's important for players to have the character to play to the best of their ability on a play-by-play basis. Gill said he never got down on a player for talent, but said that if a player ran a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash, it was important for him to run a 4.7 on every play. Likewise with somebody running a 5.0.

"If they don't do that, they're hurting themselves, and they're hurting our football team," Gill said. "We need to get everybody playing up to their ability on every play.

"If we do those things, we'll be a top notch football team," Gill said.

* And that's the goal

Gill said Kansas's goal was to win every football game, a goal that the players agreed with.

"If you don't want to win every game, what are you doing playing football," asked Jake Laptad, senior defensive end. "We want to win every game."

* A step further

When asked about the fact that Kansas doesn't play Texas or Oklahoma, senior offensive lineman Brad Thorson chipped in that the hope was that the Jayhawks would play those teams, albeit in the Big 12 Championship.

As for the rest of the schedule, Thorson said Kansas wasn't going to overlook anybody.

"Obviously Jerrod Johnson (Texas A&M quarterback) is thinking that he's going to be bringing it," Thorson said. "Baylor's got great offensive production, OSU's always got great offensive production ... the Big 12 is one of the strongest conferences. It's never easy any week.

"We're picking up Georgia Tech and going to Hattiesburg this year. We can't take a week off."

* Young talent is served

When asked about young standouts, Laptad pointed at Kevin Young at the opposite defensive end spot.

"I really think it's going to be a good year for him," Laptad said.

Laptad also singled out several not-so-young players as potential 2010 standouts, including sixth-year senior Angus Quigley at running back, Daymond Patterson at wide receiver, interior defensive linemen Richard Johnson Jr. and Patrick Dorsey and linebackers Drew Dudley and Justin Springer, his roommates. In the secondary, Laptad pointed at safety Lubbock Smith and cornerback Chris Harris, calling him, "our great cornerback."

For his part, Harris said he was up to the challenge. The senior has spent time at about every spot in the secondary during his time at Kansas, and insisted that he could play any position if need be. But he also said he felt at home at cornerback.

Harris said he learned the value of taking chances at the cornerback spot from former All-American Aqib Talib , and said the defensive backs were coached to take chances.

"A cornerback who doesn't take chances is a cornerback who doesn't get interceptions," Harris said. "I'm looking forward to making more chances this year."

* Difference between the two staffs

Naturally, many of the questions posed to the players focused on the differences between the two staffs. For the most part, the players didn't bite, calling the two staffs "similar." But Harris said that there was more "teaching going on," while Thorson lauded Gill for his high energy level and positivity.

That includes the no cursing rule, which Laptad called "different." Laptad said the rule was effective in creating a more positive team, as players weren't putting themselves, or each other, down.

As for a cursing substitute, Laptad said he didn't have one.

"I just keep my mouth shut."

Quote of the Day: "I remember on Saturday, ESPN broke the news that Jim Harbaugh was coming to Kansas. Then on Sunday, it was Coach Gill. Even when ESPN broke (that it was) Coach Gill, I was like, 'well, it will be Houston Nutt tomorrow.'" Top Stories